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With author meet, ‘The Maverick Maharaja’ J C Wadiyar comes to life again

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Mysuru: Ever since the birth centenary celebration of erstwhile Maharaja of Mysuru Jayachamaraja Wadiyar in July 2020, the 25th and last king of princely State he was, is coming to life again and again, especially in Mysuru, endearing himself to the learned lot with an inquisitive mind.

The Maverick Maharaja, a biography of Jayachamaraja Wadiyar authored by Dr Deepti Navaratna that hit the stands recently, acts like an addendum, giving a peek into the musical exploits of the monarch, who was born a monarch, handled the role of a democratic head of Mysuru and Madras as Rajapramukh and Governor respectively, and was reduced to a commoner in the later part of his life, with the abolition of privy purse by the central government.

Despite all these turmoil, J C Wadiyar maintained his composure and pursued his interest in philosophy and composed kritis and the biography has it all in detail, totalling 12 chapters. Hence it is aptly named ‘The Maverick Maharaja’.

Mysuru Book Club’s- 2015 involved in promoting literary activities in the City of Palaces, had organised an author meet at Gardenia the poolside at Hotel Southern Star in the city on Sunday.

In an interaction with Prof C Naganna a retired faculty of English, Maharaja’s College, Mysuru, author Dr Deepti Navarathna recalled how deeply she was influenced by the musical exploits of J C Wadiyar, with barely any information regarding those accomplishments in the annals of history. It was how, her idea to throw light on the musical feat of J C Wadiyar prompted her to pen the biography. 

“It wasn’t that easy to produce a composition amid all the administrative challenges posed by colonial rule followed by democracy and the changes aftermath, yet J C Wadiyar successfully emerged as a genius composer with many kritis to his credit. It was his offerings to the Goddess as understood by the available literature, but still they wait to hog the limelight”, bemoaned Deepti who owed her literary tribute to the Maharaja for the Ursu clan, mainly those in the know how of J C Wadiyar including Bharata Ratna Dr C N R Rao and the Divisional Archives in Mysuru, where one can avail the information in a jiffy.

Citing an example of musical acme of J C Wadiyar, Deepti, quoting records said “Even three days prior to the signing of ‘Instrument of Accession’, J C Wadiyar had composed a kriti”.

It was during the same period that Philharmonia Concert Society in far away London found a generous donor in J C Wadiyar. So also the compositions of German musician Richard Strauss, came to life. It was all due to his unflinching love for western classical music.

Deepti categorically mentioned about ‘Naga Dhwani’ a raga of 17th century, which had no surviving compositions, that was brought to life by J C Wadiyar in one of his kritis. Likewise, the Maharaja infused a new lease of life to ragas that ceased to exist. 

Unlike most of the princely States then, one can draw an analogy between Mysuru and Baroda that laid the foundation for institutions of repute like Oriental Research Institute (ORI) and CFTRI (in Mysuru).

There were many other Wadiyar kings like Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, Chamaraja Wadiyar, Krishnaraja Wadiyar who had many accomplishments to their credit from education to Irrigation, said Deepti.

In a question and answer session that followed, one among the audience recalled what she had heard from her grandmother a witness to the rendition of kritis by J C Wadiyar at the abode of Goddess Chamundeshwari.

While a retired professor of history Prameela made a mention of a paper she had presented on ‘Musical Maharaja’ (referring to J C Wadiyar).

Dr K Javed Nayeem a known physician of Mysuru and columnist appealed to Deepti to come out with the second part of the biography throwing much light on their passion for owning swanky cars of those days and many other interesting pieces of information related to Wadiyars. 

Deepthi Navarathna also rendered a composition of Mysore Vasudevacharya on Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar.

Earlier renowned Sarod exponent Pandit Rajiv Taranath launched the book and handed over the first copy to Supreme Court advocate J Sai Deepak Iyer.

In a fitting tribute to Wadiyars, the programme began with the musical rendition of ‘Kayo Sri Gowri’ (the State anthem of Wadiyars written by Basappa Shastry) by a troupe of Nadaswara artistes. 

Scion of erstwhile royal family of Mysuru Pramodadevi Wadiyar, Shubha Sanjay Urs the founder of Mysuru Book Club’s and several others were present.

– Team Mysoorunews 

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